Star Wars: The Phantom Menace cast and crew reunite for 20th anniversary

CNET | 4/15/2019 | Sean Keane
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Remember this awesome lightsaber battle? It's 20 years old!

Every saga has a beginning, and the cast and crew of the earliest movie in the Star Wars chronology came back together Monday to mark its 20th anniversary.

Star - Wars - Episode - Phantom - Menace

Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, the first movie in creator George Lucas' prequel trilogy, hit theaters May 19, 1999, and showed innocent Anakin Skywalker's first steps to becoming the monstrous Darth Vader.

Actors Ahmed Best, Ian McDiarmid, Ray Park and Anthony Daniels joined crew members at a packed panel — preceded by Weird Al Yankovic's tribute song The Saga Begins and the classic 1998 trailer — on the last day of Star Wars Celebration Chicago.

Star - Wars - Warwick - Davis - Roles

It was hosted by Star Wars staple Warwick Davis, who played multiple roles in the movie. He was podrace spectator Weazel (who also showed up again as one of Enfys Nest's Marauders in Solo) and Anakin's friend Wald.

The first two cast members to the stage were Ian McDiarmid (Senator Palpatine/Darth Sidious) and Ray Park (Darth Maul), with the former making a cheeky reference to his surprise appearance at the Episode 9 panel.

Friday - Area - McDiarmid - Laugh

"Friday, I just happened to be in the area," McDiarmid said. "So I thought I should just drop in for a laugh."

The actor recalled how momentous it felt to be working on a Star Wars movie once again as he revisited Palpatine, whom he played as an older character in the original trilogy.

Star - Wars - Episode - Rise - Skywalker

Watch this: Star Wars Episode 9: The Rise of Skywalker trailer tees...

"I made the assumption that we'd never ever see him again (after his death in Return of the Jedi), and I guess that's how it shall remain," he said, in another cheeky reference to the character's apparent return in The Rise of Skywalker, which takes place decades later.

Phantom - Menace - Castmate - Liam - Neeson

He also noted that Phantom Menace castmate Liam Neeson...
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